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What it takes to be humanity’s bridge

Updated on June 30, 2017

What it takes to be humanity’s bridge

He had been there. Like all the people in the world, he knows how hard it is to fight against fate. Sometimes you win, but most of the time you thought you had lost. In the end, however, a new beginning sprouted out of this man, for today he had transformed into a tool that helps in aiding humanity.

It was on February 2017 when he started lending out his hands to the Surigaonons when an earthquake scaling a magnitude of 6.7 and intensity VII struck off the coast of Surigao del Norte. Michael S. Quirante enlisted himself as a volunteer for #DuyogSurigao – a solidarity emergency response project launched and initiated by Multi-Stakeholders Initiatives for Humanitarian Action against Disasters that aims to help the people affected by the calamity.

But back before what he had been doing today, MiHAND’s Kuya King had undergone various obstacles in life. Trials which moulded him to become independent and strong for his family.

King came from a simple family with four siblings in Dimataling, Zamboanga del Sur where he completed his elementary years at San Miguel Elementary School. He graduated his second level of basic education in Laureano Salusod National High School and proceeded to college at Josefa Herrera Cerilles State College – Mate.

With their fortune not enough to sustain his and his siblings’ education, King decided to have a break from his college life. There he decided to look for a job. He became an Ice Cream vendor at the age of 23 for almost one year. But decided to leave the job as he searched for a field with greener pasture. After a few weeks of chasing for employment, he took the empty seat for a Gasoline boy. He was also a dry-goods wrapper at Gaisano Mall – Iligan City.

After ending his contract in Gaisano – Iligan, King finally settled himself as a construction worker. He endured the heavy responsibility for five long years, however if it wasn’t for the job King wouldn’t be able to meet the person who enlightened him of how beautiful it is to help humanity. It was Mrs. Linda Tebes, his employer who also worked on a Non-Government Organization in Iligan City.

Up until today, King is still accepting and engaging himself to construction works. However, he still manages to give away most of his time in helping victims from any disasters. It dawned on him, “First gyud, miapil kog volunteer is mao na gyud siguro ni akong passion nga makatabang o mahimo bitaw pud ko nga example sa uban (First, I decided to become a volunteer maybe because it is my passion to help or be an inspiration to others), nga kana bang naa silay makita sa akoa nga pwede diay makatabang bisan gamay; pwede diay nga mahimo nga kana bitawng gitawag natog makahimu ba, makahatag ug kalipay sa usag-usa nga naay kagool (In a way that they may be able to see me and realize that, really we could help even just a little, that we really could make sad people be happy) .”

“Dayun, miapil ko ani kay usa pud sa akoang kalipay (And then I joined because this is my happiness). Permiro gyud murag makahuna-huna ta unsa jud diay ang goal aning ingun-ani, unsa diay buhaton nganung in-ani (At first, I had been thinking about what is their goal, why are they doing this). Since gakuyog-kuyog ko sa mga volunteer (Since I travelled with the volunteers), nauban-uban pud ko nila, sa mga activity nila, nakita nako nga dako jud diay kaayo ug responsibilidad ang volunteer (I became a part of them, in their activities, I saw the huge responsibility these volunteers are carrying). Naa juy kalipay (There is happiness). Although makita lang ang mga tao, ang mga bata nga malipay, ingun-ana pud kadako nga kalipay ang balos sa amoa (The moment that we perceive happiness among the people and the children, then it evens out the happiness that we feel).

“Sa kagamay lang na panahon nga akong nagamit, akoang nagogol sa in-ani nga pag-volunteer mahibal-an na gyud nako nga diri jid ko malipay sa pag-volunteer (In just a short period of time, as a volunteer, I knew that this is where I could find myself happiness).”

Now in the current crisis Marawi City is facing, the King again vowed his strength to help the displaced individuals staying in the different evacuation centers organized inside Iligan City. King is currently working with MiHANDs Psychosocial Team, a group that is committed to internally relieve the evacuees from the tension’s psychological effects. Admitting though, that this was his first time to take part in aiding for the relief of refugees from a man-made havoc. As he conveyed, “As a volunteer nalipay ko nga makatabang sa usa ka tao, sa igsoon nga Muslim, sa nahitabo (As a volunteer, I was so glad that I was able to help someone, to our Muslim brothers and sisters, with what had happened), kay kung kita pud manginahanglan naa pud sila mutabang man sa atoa (because in times when we needed help, they were there ready to aid us). Give and take raman gud (It’s only give and take).

(From left) Michael Quirante, Porferio Sumile, Chad Davy Juevesano, and Emmerson Barriga volunteer for #DuyogMarawi's psycho-social support team catering specifically to displaced children (5-17 years old) in Iligan City.
(From left) Michael Quirante, Porferio Sumile, Chad Davy Juevesano, and Emmerson Barriga volunteer for #DuyogMarawi's psycho-social support team catering specifically to displaced children (5-17 years old) in Iligan City. | Source

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